Monday, October 15

Waiting for a Crisis

My old band the fourelles have new songs up on myspace: check it They're getting better without me, which makes me kinda sad actually. There are some classic new Fourelles lyrics:

I'm waiting for a crisis/so I can show you how nice I can be
Maybe some kind of injury/so I can bring you ice cream
Maybe some sort of illness/so I can give you a kidney
I hope you lose everything/so I can be the one you need

And here, for no reason at all, is a hilarious photo of phil in peru:

By the way, make sure to click on the photo in the last post to see the full-screen panorama from the top of Twin Peaks.

Saturday, October 6

Living in Omelas

Today I rode to the top of Twin Peaks at sunset and, wheezing, enjoyed the stunning view up there. Then, after darkness came, I wandered through my peaceful neighborhood, past the painted Victorian houses, to Dolores Park and met up with folks for a free outdoor movie. In the distance, we could see fireworks over the bay. The day left me struck by what an incredibly beautiful and rich city I've found myself in.

The other thing that strikes you about San Fancisco, is its vast, intractible, stinky and widespread homelessness problem. The disconnect reminded me of the classic Usula K. Le Guin story The One's Who Walk Away From Omelas, which I recommend to anyone who hasn't read it.

[Whether the Omelas analogy is truly apt is another issue.]

Wednesday, October 3


A stranded platoon, surrounded and outnumbered by enemy forces, needs to exaggerate its size. So each man runs back and forth, firing from behind every tree. From a distance, the enemy will sense each shot as a sign of a unique beating heart. But, if they are brave enough to get close, the enemy would discover a tiny band of resisters, winded, low on ammunition and ready to surrender. Applying the same principle, the radical left of Australia fires as many shots as it can: attending every political event, pasting posters on every wall, publishing newspapers and setting up webs of front organizations as complex as corporate tax shelters. By making sure to fire a shot from behind every available tree, even the tiniest sect can seem like part of the national political conversation. Yet in reality, by the mid-1990s, the radical left of Australia—bundling all the Trotskyites, Maoists, anarchists and Leninists together—numbered no more than 2000 lost souls.

The fall of the Berlin Wall had thinned the herd. Though, out of at least a dozen parties on the hard-left, only one, the flagship Communist Party of Australia, collapsed entirely. Affronted and perplexed by the complete failure of soviet communism, the CPA packed up its toys and went home, voluntarily disbanding in 1991. Everyone else soldiered on. Most had a ready excuse to hand. The Soviet Union abandoned ‘true socialism’ decades ago, they would say. Some were secretly relieved. Finally, they would no longer hear the refrain: Why don’t you move to Russia?